End of Year Self-Care Check-Up

Guest PostDoug Koop was editorial director of ChristianWeek when he participated in the 2006 Class of the Arrow Leadership Program – Executive Stream. He left that position in January 2012 and is pursuing a vocation as a writer and spiritual care provider. Discover more at dougkoop.ca

My journey with Arrow arrived at just the right time. When I began I was largely oblivious to the cloud of fog that was fuzzifying my thinking processes. I hardly realized how much fatigue was slowing me down.

I did know that I was tired and discouraged. At some subliminal level I was also aware that a good rest would not be enough, that a deeper change was needed.

With my body and inner dissatisfaction already trying to tell that me all was not well, the sessions at Arrow helped to clarify the problem areas and guided me toward healthier patterns of living and leading.

The primary issue for me was self-care. In my efforts to cope with the stresses of life and the ordinary challenges of leadership, I had been losing touch with who I am and what I was called to do.

One of Dr. Carson Pue’s earliest sessions highlighted the importance of self-awareness as the foundational beginning of leadership development. I could see that the pitfalls of the unaware leader connected all-too-well with my reality.

As Carson put it, the visioning and implementing stages of leadership hold most of the allure for those of who are called to lead. This is where the action appears to be, where the sexy stuff happens and the work gets done.

But he cautioned against trying to get to these stages too quickly. Leaders who focus on the visible elements of ministry leadership without properly processing their personal motivations and spiritual development put their enterprise at risk. I recognized myself in this picture.

The majority of my Arrow “homework” dealt with self-care issues. When I returned to the workplace, I adjusted my habits to reduce distractions. I carved out time to sidestep the urgent and consider the important. My devotional life was reignited. I resumed journaling. My leadership improved.

As we finish 2012, how would you rate your self-care? What changes in 2013 could help you grow in health and effectiveness?